Tag Archives: Election 2010

Gig Harbor Entrepreneur Launches Political Social Networking Site

Rodika Tollefson, writing for the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal, has the story about a Gig Harbor man who is taking the Facebook concept and adapting it specifically for politics. Jim Tisch of Gig Harbor launched voteIQ.com saying:

“I was trying to solve my own problem… to make the right voting decision,” he says. “There’s a lot of reasons people disengage and have voter apathy. I wanted to set up a platform to have transparency… and give people the facts.”

Kitsap Caucus now has a profile on the site. Read Rodika’s story for some of the context behind the site.

Drinking to Income Tax, Workers’ Comp and Candy and Soda Taxes

The Secretary of State’s office says backers of an initiative that would implement an income tax in Washington have scheduled an appointment to drop off signatures. So have those who would allow private insurers to compete with state workers’ comp insurance program and others would roll back taxes on candy and soda. The press release follows.

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Initiative to Privatize Liquor Sales Petitions Filed

The Washington Secretary of State’s office announced 1-1100 petitions were turned in Wednesday, which makes it the first initiative to turn in signatures. The measure is backed by Costco and other retailers.

The state is recommending petitioners to bring in 300,000 signatures to comfortably meet the 241,153-signature issues need to make it on the ballot. I-1100 backers brought in almost 400,000.

The state’s press release contains other information about other petition drives that brought in high numbers of signatures. You can the release here.

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Dear Candidates: You Will Be Vetted

Joel Connelly at seattlepi.com tells of the state Republican Party’s move to do background checks on candidates for statewide or congressional office.

I don’t think it harms my Olympian objectivity to say, “Good move.”

The party has the luxury of hiring someone to do the job for them. It takes much more time than you might realize to do the necessary search on everyone. We have to do these checks on our own. Sadly, my years here at the Kitsap Sun make it clear that it’s a necessary activity.

I’ll leave names out, for now, but past background checks have revealed someone writing bad checks and another candidate whose resume and court testimony appeared to be a complete fabrication. In the latter case it was a writer for a now defunct blog site that made the first discovery. In most cases, we don’t find anything of note, which is the good news. The year the bad check writer ran, online state records showed the opponent might have filed bankruptcy. I drove to Seattle to see the actual filing and verified it was someone with the same name as the candidate.

Filing week begins Monday. So does the vetting process.

All 35th Races Contested

Linda Simpson from Bremerton has filed to run for state Legislature in the 35th District as a Republican against incumbent state Rep. Fred Finn, D-Olympia. That’s as much as I have right now, and it’s based on PDC documents.

This means only one of the eight legislative races in Kitsap remains uncontested. If someone is planning to run against state Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, there has been no public declaration that I am aware of.

Filing week is June 7-11.

Unions Cold to Democrats

Before last week’s presentation in Port Orchard by the state’s Chief Economist, Arun Raha, state Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, mentioned to me his interest in what the state’s unions were planning to do. Chiefly, it appeared they were prepared to withhold endorsements from many legislators, because legislators didn’t make state employees very happy during the 2010 session.

His interest was well-founded. Instead of funneling money through the state Democratic party, the unions agreed to be more specific, which means no candidate in the 35th District gets any money. Seaquist and his Senate counterpart Derek Kilmer get no support in the 26th. In the 23rd state Rep. Christine Rolfes and state Sen. Phil Rockefeller, both Bainbridge Island Democrats, are also left off the list.

On the money list from districts in this county are state Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo and Democratic challenger to Jan Angel, Sumner Schoenike from Gig Harbor.

The (Tacoma) News Tribune has more context here and here.

The first question is how much this matters. We don’t pay attention to endorsements all that much, especially when they are so predictable from election to election. This item is newsworthy because it strays from history, but it isn’t as if the unions are endorsing Republicans.

Secondly, could this withholding amount to a perverse positive to some Democrats left out of the union money trail this year? It may seem a stretch, but could there be enough moderates out there who would actually see this as a plus, because it offers the perception that the Democrats left off the gravy train are not completely beholden to the dreaded “special interests?” Should Seaquist, Kilmer, Haigh and Finn actually write “thank you” notes to the unions?

Were I a spinmeister I would probably try to help find a way to sell this as kind of good news. I wouldn’t put “Not endorsed by the unions” on my campaign literature, but I might talk about how sad it is to not get the endorsement but aw shucks the 2010 session sure required some tough choices and we couldn’t make everyone happy, not even ones who have consistently written us checks.

Committee Ascension for Dicks Not a Given

Not long ago we shared the news that U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, might be in line for ascendancy to the House Appropriations Committee’s chairmanship following the announced retirement of U.S. Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc.

At the time there was a potential opponent, but not enough early thought that Dicks could be bypassed for the job. A subsequent offering by the Washington Post’s Dana Millbank gives some reason to wonder, though, if the timing might not be right for a substantial challenge.

Now, with the just-announced retirement of Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), Democrats are signaling that he will be replaced as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee by Dicks, the next in line — giving the honorable gentleman from Boeing broad control of about $1.4 trillion in annual discretionary spending. It’s an odd message the Democrats are sending: Return us to power, and we’ll return to business as usual.

Were the hand-off to be immediate I doubt Dicks would face a serious battle for the job. But nothing about the next Congress will be certain until November. We’re six months away from then, and as has been said time and again, in politics that’s an eternity. As much hope and fear there is out there that 2010 will be another 1994, betting on that now should pay you well if you’re right. If the state’s economist, Arun Raha, is right, the economy is rebounding, albeit slowly. Whether it will be rebounded enough by November to soften anti-incumbent sentiment we can’t be certain of now. And Raha only reduced the odds of there being a double-dip recession. He didn’t eliminate them.

Why that matters is the same reason it mattered in 2008. I read Palin’s book, and she seems to believe the economy doomed McCain’s chances to win the presidency. Few question that it certainly influenced his chances and those of other Republicans.

So much can happen between now and November that we can’t anticipate now, much as we didn’t anticipate September 2008.

All this calls into question whether Dicks will have trouble getting the Appropriations post next year. Of course, if Republicans do well enough to win back the House majority, the question is moot. So it would be if someone could beat Dicks himself.

Beyond that, though, Democrats might maintain the majority and Dicks retain his seat, but the party could see its margin shrink by a ton.

The overriding question will be whether there will be some message to Congress to shake things up. The next question will be if others see Dicks the same way Millbank does, enough to make the party shy about handing him the spot it’s clear he wants.

Burlingame to Challenge Brown in CK Commissioner Race

The race for the Kitsap County central district commissioner seat will be contested.

Republican Abby Burlingame will challenge Josh Brown, Democrat, in his bid for re-election to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners.

Burlingame, 30, is a North Kitsap High School grad who lives in East Bremerton and has cut hair for the past decade at A Barber Shop in Silverdale. She also studied public policy and law at Seattle Pacific University and said she is one Spanish class shy of finishing her bachelor’s degree program.

She interned during the 2009 Legislature for state Sen. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley and her name appears as a research assistant on papers prepared by the Washington Policy Center.

Her chief interest in running stems from her belief in local government, she said. Burlingame said local governments will continue to feel the brunt of budget concerns in the coming years. She said she not certain the county is well positioned to handle the budget challenges ahead, given the projects the county has planned.

Burlingame said she built a house when she was 23, a house she sold when she went through a divorce. She is single with no children.

Campaigns Kicking Off

Three candidates sent announcements about campaign events, though none of them are new names in the fray.

State Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, state Rep. Fred Finn, D-Olympia, and Republican challenger Pete DeBoer in the 23rd District will have their first official events this week. What I received from both follows the jump.

DeBoer of Kingston is running against state Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo. State Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, has yet to announce intentions to run again. State Public Disclosure Commission reports show no one has filed to run against her.

In the 35th District Finn has yet to get an opponent. In the 26th District all three races have candidates from the two major parties.

Democrat Josh Brown, county commissioner, apparently has an opponent running against him, but I’ve yet to find out who that is.

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Is Poll on Inslee Vulnerability Accurate? — Updated

At 6:10 Thursday evening I received in the inbox an e-mail from the James Watkins for Congress campaign saying that Jay Inslee, the Bainbridge Island Democratic incumbent congressman, was vulnerable in the First Congressional District race in November. That conclusion came from a survey done by Moore Information of Portland.

Here are some words of warning. I’m not at all saying Inslee isn’t vulnerable. That is entirely possible. Given the difference in national surveys we are seeing about the health care reform bill, it’s really hard for me to know. Plus, November is a long, long time away, especially in a non-presidential election year.

However, I feel justified being somewhat skeptical of these numbers. Watkins commissioned this survey, and we don’t have the questions, information about the demographics of the people surveyed, or any other information that would be helpful in deciphering these numbers. That kind of information is critical in trying to determine whether a poll accurately reflects what people feel.

That sentiment is confirmed by a blog posting by Jim Small of the Arizona Capitol Times. Small quotes Bob Moore of Moore Information in an earlier post.

Finding out who paid for the poll also is critical, said pollster Bob Moore of Oregon-based Moore Information. If a candidate has paid for it, then the numbers can’t be taken at face value, he said, and reporters should do everything they can to speak to the pollster about the results, not someone working with the campaign.

“The pollster may get some numbers that the campaign doesn’t like, and won’t release,” Moore said.

If we see the script with the questions, the demographic information and the cross-tabs from the survey, then that goes a lot farther in trusting the results. Last night I asked the Watkins campaign and the polling company for that information. I particularly want to see it in light of this item I found about surveys the company did in New Hampshire leading up to the presidential primary in 2008. As you read this info, bear in mind it does come from a site that is pro Democratic Party.

Friday, March 26, 4 p.m. UPDATE: I received an e-mail from the campaign saying they would check with the pollster. I got a response from the pollster saying I would have to get that information from the campaign.

Skepticism is not cynicism. I just want to see more data. Here are some other clips featuring Moore.

Here’s a 2007 story about polling Moore did for Dino Rossi. The company is still helping Rossi these days.

Moore Information was referenced in a 2003 column here about former Gov. Gary Locke.

When I added “push poll” to the search I got this 2004 column from Wisconsin on Moore Information polling in the presidential race.

Here’s a 2008 Newsweek story that mentions Moore, but is about negative campaigning generally.

After all that, I decided to go ahead and share the e-mail and the memo I got. If Inslee’s campaign wants to commission a survey and publish selective results, I’ll do the same. The rest is after the jump.

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